“There is a fish, isn`t there Tom?
“Yes Tom, tell us about the fish?”
“The fish? What fish?”
“Oh, you know. The famous fish. The fish that kills you. The puffer fish.”
The puffer fish, or fugu to give it its Japanese name, is another subject I know nothing about. For three years I have had no fugu experience to relate. Of course, I never admit my ignorance. Usually I either fake an earthquake to distract the interrogators – quite tricky and controversial; or promise all will be revealed later and then when later comes, look fugu up on wikipedia – easier but less fun.
Anway I should mention that last week I lost my innocence, my puffer fish innocence anyway. Wandering the rocky shore of remote Fukaura, I stumbled across a banquet`s worth of tiny fugu. The baby fugu, their expressions frozen in surprise, had all bellyflopped onto rocks.
Nice as it was at last to come face to fugu, I can`t think how I can use this empty anecdote with travellers. It is not going to convince them, “Ah, here`s a man who knows his business.”
If I must talk fugu, perhaps I should google up a few lines of spiel. OK, here goes.
UPDATED FUGU SPIEL…………………………
[Adopting great educator voice] Did you know the liver is the most toxic part of the fugu? Did you know fugu is the only food the Emperor is forbidden to eat? Did you know fugu can be lethally poisonous due to its tetrodotoxin?
[Silent switch to aggressive tour leader mode] Did you know this? Did you know ANY of this? No, you didn`t, did you? Of course, you didn`t. Well, you know now. All thanks to me. Please remember that over the next two weeks.
(Sorry, I am just starting a tour – getting the stress out before I meet everybody)
But what if tourists probe my thin veneer of copy-and-paste knowledge? What if they ask me to explain what tetrodotoxin is? Away from my laptop, I can not explain anything. I even have to look up where I live. Well, I suppose if they are that interested in fugu, I`ll take them to eat some. And I`ll recommend the liver.